Do you like quinine? You might like this.
Tempers run high with regards to Tonic Water. “But why would drink something bitter?” they ask, mouth agape. Tonic water is delicious and the combination of bitter and sweet is refreshing, interesting, and a hell of an aperitif or digestive. The bully ingredient in tonic water is of course quinine. If you don’t like tonic water I hope you get malaria.
This definitely hits the quinine thing. It’s a big blast of quinine right up front. It takes a bit to settle in, really. It’s definitely bitter (this seems very similar to VT Bitters) but it’s a bit one-dimensional. It’s a bulldozer of quinine flavor, but it feels odd solo. (Good) tonic generally has a bit more going on than just straight bitterness. Tonic water generally has a bit of citrus brightness and a good kick of sweetness and those only really start to come out you’ve fought through some of that overwhelming bitterness up front. The citrus feels lemony, but it’s honestly a bit hard to really tell through all that bitterness. The sweetness is kind of there, but feels a lighter than even the fancy “naturally” light type of tonic water.
I feel like vaping this solo is kind of an endurance test. If you can acclimate to the level of bitterness, it sort of starts to resemble a beverage? Effervescence in general is tricky to pin down, but I will say this doesn’t really feel all that carbonated by itself. While I’m the kind of weirdo that regularly drinks straight tonic, this doesn’t seem like it’s a great solo vape. I’ve mixed this up to 8%, and it doesn’t really ever turn into a full beverage type vape. I’d put into the additive category, really. Seems pretty tailor-made to pair up with VT Botanical Gin. That gin isn’t particularly aggressive, and the bitterness here is going to work well with the mellow, sweet gin base. Too bitter for FA Gin, at least by itself. This would actually work pretty well with the VT Vodka too. Outside of the cocktail profiles, this seems a bit more limited. It could work in a fruit profile where you want things to be more bitter? Or maybe to tone a tobacco? Probably stick with the cocktails.
Percentage is mostly up to you and your personal tolerance for bitterness. Personally, I liked the level of bitterness around 1%. 4% was a bit rough, but you do you. Vape train suggests mixing with this at “0.5~3% in a Mix – Standalone 3~4%.” That’s not crazy?
Setup: Recoil w/ flavor barrel, Dual 12 wrap 24g 3.5mm SS316 @.32 ohms. 60w power, 450F temp limit. Full Cotton Wicks.
Testing: Vape Train Tonic Water, 1% and 4%, 60/40 VG/PG base, 14 day steep.
Profile: Quinine, mostly. Bitter, with relatively light citrus accents and a bit of sweetness.
Off-Flavors: Aggressively bitter, even for a tonic water. Doesn’t come across like a full tonic water.
Throat Hit: It’s a bit harsh, but seems accurate to an extremely bitter profile. Nothing that doesn’t belong.
Percentage Recommendation: Probably not a solo flavor unless you’re profoundly broken. Use somewhere between .5-1.5% as an accent.
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